Guest Post by Brent Sauer
I have been a Colt AR-15 collector for a couple of years. I typically only take one rifle to the range at a time due to time constraints. As a result, over the years I have used one of two Pelican brand cases that I own for my rifle transportation needs. This year, I decided to purchase a couple of soft cases to use for rifle transport due to the ease with which you can move them around. The fact that smacking the doorway on my way out of the house won’t result in damage to our painted door trim is an added bonus that keeps the queen of the castle happy.
As I began to look at what cases were available, I came across the Colt 36” Double Gun Case, Item #C12-301BL in black on Ebay one night. As a Colt AR-15 collector, buying the Colt branded item seemed like a good idea. Using an Ebay 10% coupon that was available that day, I hit ‘Buy It Now’ and purchased the case. After paying the ‘Buy It Now’ price of $81.00, adding $9.00 shipping, my final cost was $90.00.
Upon receiving the case, a quick inspection of the manufacturing tag indicated that the case was made by a company called Drago Gear which I was not familiar with. They are manufacturing an assorted line of Colt branded packs and weapon cases under license from Colt Manufacturing Company. You can see their Colt product line here: http://www.dragogear.com/product-category/colt-gear/ This 36” double rifle case is the only Colt branded rifle case that is available from Drago Gear. I prefer to buy products made in the USA so I was a bit disappointed to see that this case was a product of China. If I looked close at all the market offerings, I imagine this is probably pretty standard.
The overall dimensions of the double rifle case is 37” x 14” x 12.5”. Looking at the front of the rifle case you will see (from left to right) a 4” wide x 8” tall zippered pocket with a small amount of MOLLE attachment points on the front of it. The zipper has a heavy-duty, nylon, 3” pull string attached to it. The zipper seems to be of high quality. All zippers mentioned in this review are identical to this zipper I just described. There is a larger pocket with dimensions of roughly 8” tall x 6” wide. The pocket has an expandable depth of about 4”. In the center, there is a larger pocket that is 8” tall x 7.5” wide. Its expandable depth is about 5”. To the right of this center pocket is another, previously discussed, large pocket followed by another 4” zippered pocket on the right side. Each of the three pockets are secured by a combination of straps with quick-release buckles (primary) and Velcro (secondary). Each pocket additionally has an adjustable elastic cord with a polymer, spring-loaded tension retainer. See photos or details. There are two retention straps that close over the top of the case after it is zippered closed. The straps are adjustable with quick-release buckles to hold the case closed in the event of zipper failure. Additionally, there is a Velcro retainer that closes around the double handles.
The three large pockets discussed in the previous paragraph are sewn to the front of a larger, double-zipper pocket. This pocket measures 11” tall x 25” inches wide. When you open the pocket it up, it opens with the flap coming towards you, attached at the bottom of the case. The inside of the flap that opens toward you has two zippered, nylon pockets. One pocket is 8.75” tall x 10.5” wide. The second, internal, zippered pocket on the flap has an 11.5” opening but a useable space of 10.5” x 16”. The back of the this larger compartment has two pockets that are 10” x 10.5” with Velcro closures. These are advertised as padded pistol compartments on the Drago Gear website.
When you open the main compartment where your two rifles would be kept, you immediately notice the padded divider. The divider is 8.75” tall x 32” wide and .5” thick. I think the padded divider is a nice, necessary feature to make the two gun case concept an attractive option. As is often preached, rifles are tools meant to be used but I doubt anyone wants their rifles to bang together in transit. There is a 3” tall x .5” thick padded ‘border’ that runs around the front and both sides of the case when it is open. This padded border would keep your muzzle/flash hider or stock from rubbing or pressing on the zipper when the case is closed up. Each side of the rifle compartment has two (left and right) triangular fabric retainers. One is for the stock end, and one is for the barrel end. Evenly spaced on each side is two 11.5” wide x 11” long Velcro retaining straps. Each retaining strap is comprised of two 8” long pieces. However, due to their overlap, you only get about 11” that is usable retention length.
The back of the rifle case is dominated by a pair of heavy-duty shoulder straps. The straps are adjustable for length at both the top and the bottom which will enable you to get optimal fit from the padded portion of the straps on your upper body. The tension can be quickly adjusted at the top of the straps by pulling down on the buckle. Or, if an urgent situation arises, you can completely drop the case by releasing the two quick-release buckles toward the bottom of each strap. There is a metal D-ring on the front of each shoulder strap for your use. There is an elastic, adjustable sternum strap that holds the two shoulder straps in place if you choose to use it. It also has a quick-release buckle.
For my ‘test fit’, I used my 18” barrel (roughly 37” overall length) Special Purpose Rifle and a standard 32” Colt LE6920. The LE6920 had plenty of room. It was almost too short with the stock completely retracted. The SPR was a bit long at 37” obviously but, to my surprise, I was still able to close up the case and zippers without much problem. Once the case was closed up, there wasn’t any movement from either weapon in the case. Additionally, due to the padded divider, there wasn’t any audible evidence of the weapons coming in contact in any way.
In closing, everyone has their own brand allegiance usually. Honestly, the case having Colt embroidered on it was my primary motivation for buying it. A quick internet search turned up equivalent gun cases by 5.11 at roughly $170.00 and Blackhawk has a 44” double rifle case at roughly $80.00. I think the Drago Gear case is well made with good features. If you are just making a quick trip to the range to shoot one or two rifles, this case will serve you well by itself.
For additional information on this case, you can visit the manufacturers webpage for this product at: http://www.dragogear.com/product/colt-36-double-gun-case/